The Macalope Weekly: Major league analysis

The Macalope is sometimes chastised for picking low-hanging fruit, but not today. Unless he’s linking to the Harvard Bizness Review and Bloomberg by accident. (Nope, he’s checked the links.) But after he’s through taking out the high-class trash, he’s doing something unusual this week: handing out some kudos. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

Ivy bush league

“Stay in school, kids.” That’s you always hear, right? And the Macalope would never tell the kids to not stay in school. Unless, maybe, the school is Harvard, whose Business Review brings us this piece by Vijay Govindarajan and Srikanth Srinivas (tip o’ the antler to John Gruber).

Govindarajan and Srinivas use a quadrant of four animals to describe companies because... uh, well, they use a quadrant of four animals to describe companies. Just go with it.

So, which one is Apple?

It was moving fast, but the competition was moving faster. It slipped from jaguar to elephant rather swiftly, and Samsung took over that spot with its Galaxy.

And what’s their definition of elephant? Regal? Intelligent? Imposing? At times shockingly aware of their own mortality?

The size has lulled the organization into overconfidence, complacence, and at times, arrogance.

Elephants should sue you guys for defamation of character.

Over a four-year period, the Galaxy caught up with all that Apple had to offer and added several innovations...

Like easy smashing?

...the key ones being a bigger screen, better GPS functionality, a range of phones to cover all segments from low-end to high-end...

Yes, Apple does not make a bazillion kinds of phones. Surprise! Guess, what? It never did. And it’s been remarkably successful not despite that, but because of it. It’s called focusing.

...better rendering of websites with flash [sic] players...

Because Flash on Android is such a huge draw.

Hey, you know what really makes for better rendering of websites? Not using Flash.

... and better working relationships with partners—operating system partners like Google and Android, carriers like Verizon, and retailers like Best Buy.

Apple, meanwhile, has only its own retail stores, something Samsung doesn’t have, and sells through Walmart.

It didn’t help that, in addition to complacence, Apple was also arrogant and failed to listen to customer needs.

OK, let’s run through that one again. Apple, which has the best-selling phone on the market and continues to sell more of them every year, is arrogant and doesn’t listen customer needs.

Apple.

Yeah.

Wall Street recognized this shift early and has punished Apple stock in spite of great quarterly financial performance.

Oh, Wall Street! You’re so smart! Is there anything you can’t do? Like not ruin the economy again? That’d be nice.

Hey, no one loves animals more than this mythical beast, but Govindarajan and Srinivas’s quadrant seems to need a little work in the taxonomy area.

If wishes were cars

After steadily declining for months, Apple’s stock has been going up recently. The Macalope’s savvy and well-accessorized readers will know what that means: it’s a bad thing for Apple. Writing for Bloomberg, Chamath Palihapitiya explains why.

”Apple Bond Issue? Steve Jobs Would’ve Bought Tesla”

Just one Tesla? Not two?

Again we are left to thank a pundit for telling us “What Steve Jobs would have done”, like they have a clue or that means a thing.

When I woke up yesterday, like every day, I grabbed my iPhone from the bedside table and began looking through my email and checking my stock portfolio, Facebook and Twitter.

Think you forgot the #humblebrag tag at the end of that, dude.

I was interested to note that Apple Inc. (AAPL) plans to work with several car manufacturers to integrate maps and other products into cars—the reaction, however, was scant at best.

Possibly because this isn’t the first time they’ve struck deals with car manufacturers? Also possibly because, in the short term, most people won’t be affected by this? It’s not like people just run out and buy a new car every time there’s a new integrated system available.

In the Steve Jobs era, this would be the type of event reserved for the Worldwide Developers Conference; now, like the last several launches of “new” products, it was thrown into the garbage heap of “So what?”

The fact that Apple has more important things to talk about at WWDC is a bad thing. Got it.

Lines of consumers outside the Apple Store have been replaced by a line to the CFO’s office. Generally, I think it portends poorly when investors are your biggest supporters and consumers couldn’t give a damn.

Uh-huh, because no one buys Apple products anymore.

Let us marvel for a moment, however, at the no-win scenario Palihapitiya has constructed. Previously the idea was that, yes, people were buying Apple’s products, but the company’s falling stock was surely a sign the it was in trouble (see above). Now that the stock is going up, it’s a sign of the company being in trouble because, well, the company just has to be in trouble, OK?

It is rumored now that Apple, to stem the tide of skepticism, is going to build a TV and a watch. Unfortunately, I think it has missed the big picture.

You know. Like Apple always does.

The right move would be for Apple to enter the car space, buy Tesla and make Elon Musk the CEO. Cook could move back to COO.

Sure! Jony Ive could serve meals at Caffe Macs, Phil Schiller will take up knitting and Bob Mansfield? He’ll just sit around lookin’ sexy.

So, Bloomberg has now taken to publishing stilted and unrealistic acquisition porn. Bloomberg. Oookay.

Obviously this will never happen. The market is too big. Tesla is too good, and Cook is probably too weak to do something this radical.

HE’S TOO LAME TO TAKE UP MY BRILLIANT IDEA, UGH, HIS WEAKNESS ANGERS ME.

Well, on the bright side, the Macalope remembers when speculation was about who would acquire Apple.

Kudos for a change

Let us now take a moment to pause from our thrice weekly ritual mastication on the picked-over bones of Apple analysis and, for a change, applaud some work.

Albeit the work of others who are conducting their own ritual mastication on the picked-over bones of Apple analysis.

Hey, what did you expect? Ritual mastication on the picked-over bones of Apple analysis is the Macalope’s beat! It says to right up there on the... on the... Oh. It doesn’t say that.

Well, it should.

Anyway, big tip o’ the antlers to NetworkWorld’s Yoni Heisler for running through the many crimes against logic committed by Rob Enderle.

It’s not worth citing every drab paragraph from Enderle, but suffice it to say that Enderle’s barrage of half-reasoned opinions drone on and on.

Only two things in life are certain: death and Rob Enderle saying something dumb. (A lot of people get out of paying taxes.) Anway, thanks for the assist, Yoni. The Macalope doesn’t mind when other writers work his side of the street. When taking about lousy Apple commentary, the “street” is more like a four-lane highway.

Abdel Ibrahim provides another breath of fresh air in the abbatoire of Apple analysis by conducting some actual analysis of Apple’s historical stock price shifts. Weird! Isn’t it enough to just sit down and start typing every time Apple’s stock goes down?!

Turns out Apple has a history of large share price drops and, so far, they’ve always been followed by a recovery, one which Ibrahim thinks Apple might be experience right now. Surely all those people who were saying Tim Cook’s days were numbered feel silly right now. Ha-ha! Of course not! They don’t experience shame the same way we do!

Horace Dediu, meanwhile, doesn’t so much take the idea that Tim Cook should be fired to the woodshed, he takes it somewhere far behind the woodshed. Possibly the woods. That seems the most likely place.

Speaking with The Next Web, Dediu said:

Anyone suggesting Tim Cook should be fired is a neophyte. This would apply to anyone suggesting the firing of any CEOs. The process of hiring and firing CEOs is complex, political and varies widely by company and reason.

Like Ibrahim, Dediu has a suggestion for people who think Apple’s stock movements of late are unprecedented bad news for Apple: Read a damn book.

...these new comments come from people who did not observe Apple prior to its most recent ascent. Therefore the current dip in share price is the first they’ve ever observed first-hand. They give it disproportionate significance.

Steve Jobs is no longer with us and the last thing Steve Jobs wanted was for people to fret about “What Steve Jobs would do.” So instead of quoting him, the Macalope will just say it on his own.

Boom.

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